previous next

[453] fights in which we were engaged. The sections are commanded by Lieutenants Brown, Clark Wilson, while First Sergeant J. E. Tilston is a host in himself. On the morning of Sunday, the eighth, the Fifth corps arrived in our front, and marched toward Spottsylvania Court-house, while the Second corps relieved the cavalry.

Many of our distinguished generals were in consultation at Todd's tavern, including Generals Grant, Meade, Sheridan and others. It was now decided to send the cavalry corps to the rear of Lee, cut his line of communication, destroy his supplies, and do him all the damage possible.

For this purpose we were quietly withdrawn on the afternoon of Sunday, the eighth, and marched back to within about eight miles of Fredericksburg, on the plank-road. Here we bivouacked and made all the preparation we could for the coming trying march. We had already been four days without much sleep, and with very little to eat. Our forage for the horses had been reduced to one day's supply; but, notwithstanding all these drawbacks, the utmost enthusiasm prevailed, and all were anxious to participate in the movement.

We moved at daylight, marching in the direction of Fredericksburg until we had arrived within four miles of the city, when we struck off to the left of Spottsylvania Court-house to Hamilton's crossing, and took the telegraph road to Richmond.

We had not advanced many miles before we began to be annoyed on the flank and rear by rebel sharpshooters. The First division had the advance, the Second the rear, and the Third the centre. We paid verylittle attention to the firing, supposing it to be only a party of scouts watching our movements. We had flankers thrown out each side of the road, while the Sixth Ohio regiment, Colonel William Stedman commanding, were the rear guard.

About the middle of the afternoon the First North Carolina cavalry made a furious charge upon our rear guard, breaking clear through the Sixth Ohio, who were somewhat unprepared for such a vigorous movement; used both pistol and sabre to good advantage, and captured quite a number of prisoners.

Quite an amusing incident occurred in connection with this charge. A section of the Sixth New York independent battery was in the rear, supported by a squadron of the Sixth Ohio. A rebel captain cut his way through to the rear piece, and, putting his hand upon it,cried out--“This is my piece.” “Not by a damned sight,” replied a cannonier, and at the same time gave him a blow under the eye, a la Heenan, knocked him from his horse and took him prisoner. Considerable commotion was created in the column for a few minutes, when it was ascertained that Fitz Hugh Lee, with two brigades, was in the rear of us. The First New Jersey, Lieutenant-Colonel Kester commanding, was at once ordered to assist the Sixth Ohio, and from that time till dark both small arms and artillery were in constant use. Captain Walter R. Robbins was at one time completely cut off from the balance of the command; but, placing himself at the head of his squadron, he gallantly cut his way through, bringing in several prisoners.

While these exciting events were transpiring in the rear, our advance, composed of General Ouster's brigade, of the First division, was doing glorious work in the front. They forded the North Anna river, charged into Beaver Dam station, recaptured three hundred and seventy-eight Union prisoners, including colonels, majors, captains and lieutenants, belonging to the Fifth corps, and taken prisoners while charging the rebel breastworks at Todd's tavern. Their joy, when they saw the flashing blades of the Union cavalry approaching, knew no bounds. They set up a deafening cheer, while the rebel guard, composed of a lieutenant and twenty-five men, skedaddled into the woods. They had no inkling of our approach, and the transition from a state of despondency to hope and joy was so sudden that they could hardly realize it.

Reaching the station, General Custer found three long trains, loaded with commissary stores, with two splendid engines, which he at once destroyed, together with a large warehouse filled with an immense quantity of flour, bacon and whiskey. It is said that not less than one million and a half of rations were destroyed at this point, They also thoroughly destroyed the railroad for miles, burning the ties and bridges, bending the rails, and damaging it in every conceivable manner. The road which passes here is the Virginia Central, running from Richmond to Gordonsville.

The First division bivouacked on the south side of the North Anna river, while the Second and Third were on the north side. A strong picket guard was thrown out in the rear, and skirmishing was kept up all night. At daylight in the morning the enemy succeeded in getting one piece of artillery in position commanding our camp, and opened a vigorous fire. The first shell passed directly over an ammunition wagon, under which your correspondent was sleeping. Our regiment was at once ordered into line, and a crossing of the river was effected under heavy fire.

We moved south, in the direction of the South Anna river, the First division in advance. The rebels during the night had succeeded in getting a force in front of us, and were annoying our column. The First Maine charged them, and Lieutenant-Colonel Boothby received a severe wound in the shoulder, shattering the bone. It was first thought that the wound was fatal, but Dr. W. W. L. Phillips, Surgeon-in-Chief of the Second division, performed a skilful operation, cutting out the fragments of the shattered bone, and strong hopes are now entertained of his recovery.

At four P. M. we crossed the South Anna, and, after marching two miles, bivouacked for the night. At three o'clock on the morning of the eleventh, the First brigade, Second division, was sent, under Brigadier-General H. E. Davies,


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
North Anna (Virginia, United States) (2)
Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (2)
South Anna (Virginia, United States) (1)
Hamilton (Virginia, United States) (1)
Beaver Dam Station (Ohio, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
8th (2)
11th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: